Snowy Night, London Lights and King's College Choir

We bundled ourselves up last night
and took the night ride into London.
Our destination was the Royal Albert Hall 
for the Christmas Festival  featuring

The girls and I decided to brave the weather 
take in the sights before the show.
The boys arrived via train just 
before the show started.

Can you guess who had more fun?
Christmas lights in Trafalgar Square

A Christmas window at Fortnum and Mason

Miss Christine and Miss Claire at the sight
of snow alongside The Milestone Hotel in Kensington.

and a  pre-show picture taken at the Royal Albert Hall.

Mr. H has been a fan of the King's College Choir 
for as long as I can remember. He was thrilled to see them in person.
Honestly, the event was pure magic. It reminded me that perfect balance 
of wind chimes on a summers night. It was so peaceful that it 
actually put me to sleep, for just a little while :)

"The Choir owes its existence to King Henry VI, who envisaged the daily singing of services 
in his magnificent chapel. This remains the Choir's raison d'ĂȘtre, and is an important part 
of the lives of its 16 choristers, who are educated on generous scholarships at King's College School,
 and the 14 choral scholars and two organ scholars, who study a variety of subjects in the College."
via website
Snowy nights and London Light images~ me
Kings College Choir here
You Tube 
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Snowfalls in Surrey

Snow blanketed Surrey today.
Traffic came to a stand still 
and I was secretly happy.

All activities were cancelled.
Out for a walk, home to rest.
The perfect opportunity to catch up
with Christmas baking and wrapping.
I'll take it!

Merry, Merry !

More photos 


~ Voices ~

A few months ago I visited Lacock Abbey in rural Wiltshire, England. Founded in 1232, it is descended from a nunnery dating back to 1100 and is now part of the Fox Talbot Museum and village managed by the National Trust. It was also used in the Harry Potter films. As you can see from the photos, we were lucky enough to visit at a time when there were few visitors. That in itself was a marvel. What I will never forget is the wonderful music that filled the air. So peaceful. Today I came across a CD that instantly transported me back to the day of our visit. Called simply, Voices: Chant from Avignon, by The Benedictine Nuns of Notre-Dame De L'Annonciation. For some, it may be the perfect Christmas was for me :)

Follow here:

 Images 1-4 ~me
Album cover as noted above
Video: You Tube

Made in Dagenham~ Loved it!

My friend Kate proudly tells me that she is an 'Essex' girl'.
I did not understand what it meant until now.
All I can say now is that 'Essex' girls rule :)

If you are looking for a fun and uplifting movie,
see Made in Dagenham.  I watched it on a
recent plane flight and smiled the whole
way Australia.

I just have to say that I loved, loved, loved this film!
It is smart, it is sassy, it sizzles!

"Heroines aren't born,
they are made"

You betcha!

Movie information and trailer here

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4


So happy to hear that Matt Cardle 

An Essex boy!

Fickle Female and the X Factor

Maybe it is the change of season, maybe it is just because...
but I am feeling the need for a blog title photo change.

Up to now I have been showing a little bit of bike love..

But now I am thinking, maybe, 
a spoonful of lovin from Fortnum and Mason..

or starry starry winter nights over London...

Perhaps showers over Witley Court?

or that ye olde London feel of Jermyn Street

Maybe Big Ben chiming in the night ?

but then there is Henry at
Hampton Court Palace
who is just down the road from me...

Decisions, Decisions..
what do you think?
Which one?

Speaking of votes, if you live in England,
you may have been swept into the
X Factor fever like the rest of us.

 I have two favourites, 
Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson.
They both have great voices.
I will be in flight from OZ to the UK
for the Finals...I am hoping
the pilot will make a little announcement :)

If you are watching it...would love to know who you like :)

images~ me

The Christmas Season

The Christmas season is upon us.
Their is a hustle and bustle in the air as
shoppers set their mark. 
Yet, on this night..

 drifts thru 
my windowsill,
snowflakes dance.
A Nordmann Fir
awaits our eager touch.
Christmas music lifts me up, 
scented candles gleam in the moonlight
all the while, a mighty army of Nutcrackers 
stand and stare. I have my list and I am checking 
it twice. I have to step out for a wee Australia 
and back. I will be returning with the best present of all,
my son. Then we will be least for a little while.
The Christmas season is upon us.
The best season of all.
Image: V&A

A little Christmas Spirit

Colin Firth and The King's Speech

My kids will say...
'Oh, no here she goes again with Mr. Darcy'
but how can I not?

I just watched the trailer to
The King's Speech.
It is the story of King George VI
and his struggle to deal with a speech impediment.

Colin Firth and Australian actor, Geoffrey Rush
are in it along with Helena Bonham Carter.

The King's Speech will be released in the UK on 7 January 2011 . 
It looks brilliant!

Geoffrey Rush always has a twinkle in his eye
and doesn't Colin look fab :)

You Tube
Images: 1&2, 3

Jo Malone and Blue Agava and Cacao

Dear Friends,
I need your help. 
I am working on my Christmas list. 
I have checked it once and checked it twice. 
At the top, is my favourite Jo Malone fragrance. 
I want to be sure that Mr. H fully 
appreciates my passion
for this fragrance....

Do you think this will work?

Dear Mr H, 
Spray me once, spray me twice
 as all I want for Christmas 
is especially sweet and nice.

They say it dances on the skin,
they say it is passion inspired 
by the rhythm of Latin music.
La musica del amor...

Scented with fresh lime, 
zesty grapefruit, 
 the heart of the rare, 
blue agava flower. 
every woman's dream, 
deep dark chocolate 
with the creamy 
vanilla spice note 
of the Cacao Bean.

Spray me once, spray me twice 
and if you are feeling
especially nice...
a cologne, a cream, a bath oil
and little drops of chocolate for el bano.
Aribba, Aribba!

Dear Readers, you think
 the whole collection
is a bit of a stretch?? 
Hmmm..perhaps, but
how about the chocolate?
Lindt, yum!

:) :)

2, 5

Annie Tempest and The Totterings

One sunny afternoon in September, 
I met a friend for lunch in Kent at the The Royal Oak in Edenbridge.  
It was there that I came across the work of Annie Tempest.
As I was leaving the pub I noticed a framed picture on the wall. 
I had a quick glance and smiled all the way home. 

 I did my usual frenzied google search and discovered
 that the answer to my question was at The O'Shea Gallery in London.

I could not have been more pleased when I walked thru the doors of the gallery. 
Not only was I greeted with a warm smile..I was in Tottering heaven. 
Everything relating to Annie Tempest can be found in this wonderful gallery. 
I eagerly stepped up to the desk and mentioned my crazy story about a pub, 
a picture of a bed, a dog and a TV.  The woman looked quizzical at first 
and then smiled.  She knew exactly what I was talking about and took me right to it.

'I don't think the bed scenes are very realistic..."

There is something about the casualness of it all..the dogs, the socks, the paper, 
the TV at the foot of the bed, the wine and I imagine a box of chocolates somewhere 
that I couldn't resist. This is not the sort of scene you imagine in a bed of such grandeur.  
I like the way the artist thinks and wonder what they would have said 
whilst watching Downton Abbey :)

Who are the Totterings? 
Lord and Lady Tottering reside at their ancestral home, Tottering Hall 
in the fictional county of North Pimmshire. They are known to each other 
and amongst their friends as Dicky and Daffy. They have a daughter, Serena 
and two grandchildren, Freddy and Daisy. The artist, Annie Tempest gives us amusing 
little insights into their lives. I have discovered that you do not have to be English 
to appreciate the delight of Dicky and Daffy. No matter what your nationality you 
are bound to find something that strikes a chord. 
They are endearing :)

"I know I said I was only going to look but it's a woman's
prerogative to change her mind, darling..."

"Darling, it's Hello! Magazine on the phone-they'd 
like to photography us in our gracious home..."

I was also endeared by this image of Annie Tempest 
and wanted to know more.

Annie started her career in 1993 with a cartoon strip 'Tottering-by- Gently' 
for Country Life Magazine. Her talent has taken her far as you can now find her 
delightful cartoons executed on china, stationary, textiles and name it, she's got it. 
You can find it all and more at O'Shea Gallery and on her website. In fact, you can probably 
find it at a store near you. Annie has a strong international following and her work now 
reaches the far corners of the world. I am thinking that Annie's work would make 
great Christmas presents for those friends with a little twinkle in their eye, just like Daffy :)

 You can find O'Shea Gallery 
 4 St. James's St.
London SW1A 1EF

Images from
and postcards purchased at O'Shea Gallery


A Royal Wedding

A wedding, how exciting! Prince William and Kate Middleton 
have finally made an announcement. They are engaged. 
The word around town is that they will marry next spring or summer, 
giving Britain its biggest royal wedding since Prince Charles married Diana in 1981.
Do you remember when Diana and Charles married?

Better yet, did you watch it and do you recall where you were when you did?
For me, it was the wee hours of the morning in the USA.
What an event and my how times have changed.
It still brings a tear...

Images 1, 2, 3
You Tube

An Afternoon on the Seine

I was told to be sure to take the boat ride along the Seine when we arrived in Paris. 
Here I sit, 10 days later, looking thru a few of my photos and the first thought 
that comes to mind is to thank the person who suggested the trip. 
If you haven't been and you have plans to go to Paris someday....
be sure to take a boat ride along the Seine.

Life happens at its own pace and for the most part it happens slowly. 
I think it was one of the things I enjoyed most.

It was a late Thursday afternoon in October and the sun was kissing the day goodbye.

Whether by boat, bridge or  land you feel compelled to stop and take it all in.
We easily fell into step with everyone else.

Everywhere we looked autumn leaves were alight.

Every little detail was beautiful.

Shadows were just as happy in their stance as the person standing 

or sitting next to them.

The big guns then came tumbling along...
Notre Dame

The Eiffel Tower

and for me, I was equally happy with birds in flight,

a perfect end to a late afternoon trip along the Seine.